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Contact: Jennie Kish Albrinck, 760-367-5520
Contact: Lorna Shuman, 760-367-5534
Kennya Pimentel, a 20-year-old resident of Las Vegas, Nevada, fell Wednesday, January 1, while climbing Hemmingway Buttress in Joshua Tree National Park. Ms Pimentel fell about six feet and became wedged in a crevice approximately 100 feet above the ground. She was not wearing a safety helmet and initially complained of both head and hip injuries.
Park rangers, volunteers from the Joshua Tree Search and Rescue (JOSAR) team, and San Bernardino County Sheriffs' deputies and a helicopter responded to the site. JOSAR team members used a high angle rescue system to extract Ms Pimentel from the crevice and safely lower her to the ground. All precautions were taken to stabilize her during the evacuation. She was then airlifted to Desert Regional Hospital. Fortunately she sustained no serious injury. The rescue took about five hours.
This incident was one of several search and rescue emergencies that occurred at Joshua Tree National Park over this past week. On Monday and Tuesday, there were other incidents that resulted in minor injuries including a twisted ankle. National Park Service rangers also initiated a search late on New Year’s Day for an overdue hiker in Black Rock Canyon who lost the trail after the sun had set.
Joshua Tree visitors are reminded to be careful when hiking and climbing. Park staff recommend wearing protective helmets and gear when climbing, paying close attention to landmarks when hiking, always carrying a flashlight or headlamp, and checking sunset times to avoid being caught on a trail after dark.